'Henry Varnum Poor Studies' gallery talk at the Palmer Museum of Art on Sept. 12

Jennifer Feehan
September 09, 2014

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Curator, will give a gallery talk titled "Henry Varnum Poor Studies" in the exhibition "Henry Varnum Poor: Studies for the Land Grant Frescoes" at 12:10 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the Palmer Museum of Art on Penn State's University Park campus.

"Henry Varnum Poor: Studies for the Land Grant Frescoes" is currently on view at the museum through Dec. 21. In 1939, Henry Varnum Poor accepted a commission to decorate the north wall over Old Main’s grand staircase with a fresco based on Penn State’s founding as a land-grant institution under the Morrill Act of 1862. The painting, completed the following spring, was so successful that plans were made to extend the design to the east and west walls of the balcony level in Old Main’s lobby. World War II intervened, placing the project on hold until March 1948, when Poor returned to campus to work on the east balcony wall. The west wall was begun in November of that same year, and a third visit by the artist, made during the spring of 1949, brought both sites to completion.

Held to celebrate the recent unveiling of the University’s two-year effort to conserve the Land Grant Frescoes, this exhibition features a number of preparatory studies selected from the Palmer Museum’s permanent collection. Chief among these are several drawings of Abraham Lincoln, signer of the Morrill Act, whom Poor featured as the central figure in the north mural, as well as sketches of various Pennsylvania locales made by the artist as he traveled throughout the state prior to developing his final designs for the frescoes.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is located on Curtin Road and admission is free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and some holidays. It also will be closed Thursday, Nov. 27 and Wednesday, Dec. 24, through Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015. The museum will have reduced hours these dates: noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, through Sunday, Nov. 30, and noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 2, through Sunday, Jan. 11.

The Palmer Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Also on view at the Palmer Museum of Art this fall are "Lanny Sommese: Image Maker," Aug. 26 through Dec. 21, and "Marcellus Shale Documentary Project," Sept. 23 through Dec. 14. "Marcellus Shale Documentary Project" was organized by the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.

  • Henry Varnum Poor, "Landscape with Farm, study for the Land Grant Frescoes," 1939.

    Henry Varnum Poor, "Landscape with Farm, study for the Land Grant Frescoes." Gift of the artist, 72.87. [nid:325578]

    IMAGE: Palmer Museum of Art

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Last Updated January 09, 2015